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Sunday, 18 March, 2001, 00:39 GMT
Ladders deadliest DIY danger
A drill and a ladder
DIY dangers: An electric drill and step-ladder
Seventy people die each year in DIY accidents with one person a week killed while using a ladder.

A further 100,000 are so seriously injured they need hospital treatment.

The Department of Trade and Industry has released the figures as part of its Easter safety campaign - a peak time for DIY accidents.

It said ignorance of safety plays a major part in such tragedies.

DIY dangers
3,900 DIY-ers a week need hospital treatment
About 21,000 accidents happen in April alone
Accident rate up 16% in four years
DTI researchers have found the average consumer can spot only five out of 11 potential safety hazards on a stepladder.

And while women on average knew less about DIY than men, men tended to over-estimate their own abilities.

Men were often "determined not to be beaten" even when it was apparent they did not know what they were doing, lacked the right tools, or needed an extra pair of hands to help do it safely, said researchers.

DIY disasters seen by BBC doctor Colin Thomas include a man who severed his thumb with an circular saw and woman who needed a series of skin grafts after falling from a ladder she had climbed in a pair of slippers.

The total number of accidents, including minor injuries, was 250,000 a year and the figure is rising.

TV star Nicholas Lyndhurst with a ladder
Only fools and ladders...
Last year there were 99,000 serious DIY-related accidents compared to 85,000 in 1996.

Aside from ladders many serious injuries were caused by power tools and electricity.

Consumer Affairs Minister Kim Howells said the figures highlighted the need for people to take more care while doing DIY jobs around the home.

"Most of these accidents are caused by carelessness or lack of knowledge.

"People need to plan ahead, follow the instructions and warnings closely and shouldn't underestimate how long a job will take," he said.

"It's important to know when a job is too difficult, when it is best to call in a professional."

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See also:

25 Apr 00 | UK Politics
DIY minister injures finger
21 Apr 00 | UK Politics
DIY disasters 'blamed' on TV stars
12 May 00 | Health
Dismember It Yourself
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